While every signing carries an element of risk, Sean Dyche admits Burnley still have to “hedge their bets” to avoid mistakes.
The Clarets have bolstered their European scouting network, but Dyche expects that to take time to bear fruit, especially when the club can’t really afford to gamble in the market.
Burnley are noted for plucking primarily British and Irish players, often from the Championship, many with a point to prove.
And while Steven Defour has flourished this season after moving from Anderlecht in the summer of 2016, Dyche explained: “It’s a tough market in a sense that when we’re being judged on European players – look how many get it wrong. They don’t really get a mention, one out of seven, or whatever, will come right, and everyone talks about the one.
“But lots of money has gone straight out the building at clubs, from the European, and English market, but from the European market, we can’t afford as many mistakes as other teams.
“If we could, the board don’t want to afford it, so therefore we have to be ready to try and crunch down the details enough, where we hedge our bets, so when we do it, we’ve got someone who can activate.”
Burnley have seen the likes of Jelle Vossen and Rouwen Hennings fail to make an impact after signing from Genk and Karlsruher SC respectively, but had great success domestically: “Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) was under the radar for most people. We’re now getting the signs of Johann, Popey, Tarky, Keano back in the day. We’ve done it quite well.
“That’s not going into Europe, just young players around the English scene, who maybe are not quite recognised, or are ready to continue in their careers and keep maturing.
“We haven’t got that many wrong. We’ve got some wrong, which is highly probable you will, but here the margins are tight and they have to be in our favour.
“So, when you’re talking about European scouting, you have to have layers.
“Year one, highly unlikely, year two, maybe, year three, you’re starting to build these layers of information and contacts, and we were almost starting from not quite zero, from a very low level, and we’ve built that up slowly but surely.
“But you’ve got to remember, most clubs have been doing it for years and have already opened up these networks and we’re opening them up as we go.
“There’s no time scale on it, but it’s highly improbable in years one and two there’s lots of that.
“By year three, hopefully you have enough information to start moulding this system, but it takes time, or short cuts, which normally implies lots of money going on maybes, and if you get them wrong, you’re carrying big situations that put the club under financial pressure.
“This club, the chairman, made it clear to me, ‘yes, we’ll support it, but we need to hedge our bets that they’re going to work’.”